Thinking about purchasing an investment property?

By Adelina Riddick, in All Communities

by Natalie Hay

Want a second home for your family that can also earn you some money on the side? Here are some helpful hints on how to set your rental up for success and maximize your rental potential!

There are some key features that renters are looking for in a vacation home, and if you include these in your home it could help you increase your rental income, get booked faster, and ensure that your renters want to stay at your home time and time again! 

OUTDOOR LIVING: 

Your guests are on vacation at the beach, and most likely will want to spend as much time outside as possible. Help them enjoy their time outside by creating a great outdoor living space. Renters are looking for screened in porches and decks/patios with a table and chairs. Provide a grill so they can cook their meals outside as well. Bonus points if you have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit!

BEDROOMS:

More bedrooms and beds so you can sleep the most people will help get your home rented quickly and allow you to ask more for your rental. Especially at the beach, people often get the whole family together for vacation. Having two master-suites can also make a big difference in rentability, as two families can then rent a home together! 

DURABLE FLOORING:

When designing a home that you know will be a rental, you will want to choose selections that are more durable and don’t easily show wear. Hardwood, luxury vinyl, and tile flooring will be more durable, easier to clean, and will hold up over time. For hardwoods, choose a light color to hide the dirt and sand, and a heavy-scraped hickory or maple as it will provide a little more scratch-resistance.

FURNISHINGS: 

Nice, new furnishings and splashes of color throughout can make a rental home look much more appealing. Renters tend to gravitate towards the rentals that look nicer in the photos, and your furnishings will help a lot with this.

Include a larger table with plenty of seating- if you have room for multiple people to sleep, there should be a place for them to eat as well! 

Durability is also important when it comes to furnishings. Choose colors and fabrics that are more stain-resistant to keep the home looking fresh.

Don’t have the eye for design or don’t want to worry about it? Leave it to a professional and enlist Décor Direct Interiors to guide you in furnishing the home with pieces that are ideal for a rental property.

TECHNOLOGY:

Good WiFi is a must! Cable is great as well, but having WiFi is more important now with streaming becoming more popular. 

Include flat screen TVs connected with cable in all bedrooms if possible, and don’t forget the streaming device(s).

Bonus Points: Families will appreciate some kind of gaming system for the kids. A sound system or Bluetooth speaker would also be a big plus!

ENTERTAINMENT:

While not necessary, splurging for game tables or wet bars can set your rental apart from all of the others. Your guests are on vacation, so they will love the extra amenities in the home to enjoy their time!

OTHER CONVENIENCES:

It’s helpful to think about how you and your family use your beach home to consider what might make the stay more comfortable for your guests. 

Having a kitchen to cook your own meals is one of the main reasons people will rent a home instead of going to a hotel, so it is important to have a well-equipped kitchen. Make sure to have proper cooking equipment, utensils, and dishes for them to use.

Other conveniences that are small but should not be forgotten are things like coffee makers, bottle openers, games, movies, and other items people use on a daily basis. 

The little things will make a difference and will help your guests enjoy the experience. While you can ask them to bring their own disposables, providing them with a couple rolls of toilet paper and paper towels to get started is always appreciated.

Another tip for success: Make a welcome book for your guests with passwords and instructions on everything to make it easy for your guests to enjoy the home. Suggestions on your favorite nearby activities and restaurants is also a nice touch that your guests will appreciate.

COMMUNITY/LOCATION:

Location, location, location… Proximity and easy access to the beach, restaurants, and shopping is super important. But your guests will also enjoy amenities within the community such as a community pool to make your home an even more attractive vacation spot.

FLOOR PLANS: 

Looking for the best floor plan to purchase as an investment property? 

The Lilac & Southport plans have options for additional bedrooms, but they start off already included with 4 bedrooms! So you get a great bang for your buck as an investment property. You can also add a second owner’s suite in either of these floor plans to create space for multiple families to be comfortable and the loft area is great overflow hangout space!

The Lilac Floor Plan – Schell Brothers

The Southport Floor Plan – Schell Brothers

The Iris is another floor plan that has potential for a great rental property. This floor plan starts off with 3 bedrooms and a den, and can be expanded to add two additional bedrooms upstairs with their own on-suite bathroom! This floor plan also has a loft area which is another great living area. 

The Iris Floor Plan – Schell Brothers

Reach out today to learn more about purchasing the right investment property for your family! 

Natalie Hay

(302) 386-8231

natalie@schellbrothers.com

Marlin Chase in Ocean View (schellbrothers.com)

Blog written by Natalie Hay

Contributor, Adelina Riddick

WHAT’S NEW ON NEW ROAD?

By Adelina Riddick, in All Communities

If you haven’t checked out our ¾ estate lots on New Road, don’t wait any longer! These lots are an extremely rare opportunity for new construction, and one you can be sure you won’t see again anytime soon!  

WHAT MAKES THESE LOTS SO UNIQUE?

Not only do we rarely see ¾ acre lots for a brand-new construction home, but these lots are also located on the east side of route 1 in Lewes! So, you truly get the best of both worlds with both location and lot size. 

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

If you are familiar with Lewes, you know the east side of route one is the place to be. You can hop on your bike and jump on the trails to get to downtown Lewes and the beaches just a couple of miles away. You are also located right around the corner from groceries, restaurants, the hospital, and other conveniences. 

WHAT’S NEARBY?

When we say right around the corner, we mean right around the corner. Local, family-owned Old World Breads is located just ½ mile down the street with all the tasty sweets and fresh breads you could want. They also make fresh breakfast sandwiches and have a lunch menu!

Looking for some local beer and spirits? Beach Time Distilling is also located just ½ mile away for you to pick up some local liquor to take home with you or to try a tasting and cocktail. And Big Oyster Brewery is less than 2.5 miles away for local beer and a great lunch and dinner menu. Did we mention their backyard?! Fantastic place for you and your kids to enjoy!

1 mile away is one of our favorite seafood restaurants, Fish On. Fish On is a SoDel Concepts restaurant with a great selection of food and drinks to enjoy at their indoor or outdoor seating. We personally love enjoying their cocktails at their outdoor fire pit!

Weis grocery store and CVS Pharmacy are located just a mile away in the Village of Five Points for your everyday needs, or head just a little further up the road to Lloyd’s Market for a small-town market shopping experience.

It isn’t even close to stopping there! There are too many amazing local spots to name them all. Not sure where to go? Just head less than 3 miles down the road by bike or car to downtown Lewes historic district to walk around and stop in any of the great local shops and restaurants. 

¾ ACRES, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL OF THAT SPACE?

If that isn’t enough, these lots are also NOT in an HOA community. So, you have NO HOA fee, and you have the flexibility to put in your own private backyard pool, fence in your yard, or keep your boat and RV at your property. If you do have a boat or are planning on getting one when you move to the beach, you’ll be just 3 miles away from the Lewes public boat ramps. And with an included side load garage, plus an option to add an additional 2-car detached garage, you will have plenty of room for all of the toys. 

We now only have two sites remaining in this rare opportunity! So please reach out to Josh or Natalie Hay, the community sales managers for Schell Brothers Estate Lots on New Road.

Natalie Hay

(302) 386-8231

natalie@schellbrothers.com

Josh Hay

(302) 569-9237

josh@schellbrothers.com

It Takes A Village

By Adelina Riddick, in All Communities

It can take a village to build your dream house. Just ask Michelle and Steve Levin, who just built a Schell home in the Governors community in Lewes. Their new neighbors helped them make sure it’s exactly the home they want.

The Levins had built a Schell vacation home in Bayside, and while they were very happy with their house, a visit to Governors in 2021 soon convinced them that the Lewes neighborhood was a better fit for the lifestyle they were seeking as they moved closer to retirement. “We could jump into a lot of activities,” said Steve. “It was an environment that we wanted to be part of, and we felt incredibly welcome.”

The Levins had no problem selling their Bayside home and, in a stroke of luck, found a rental right in Governors where they could stay until their new home – Steve and Michelle chose the Jasmine model – was ready.

And that’s when the fun began. As the Levins began to meet their neighbors – and join the biking group and launch another community book club – they were able to see how other families use the bright, open spaces in their new homes. “Everyone was kind enough to say, ‘Come into our house, come take a look. Here’s what we did and here’s what we got,’” Steve said.

Should they add a sunroom to the back of their new home, or a screened porch? Sunroom fans talked enthusiastically about a light-filled spot for reading a good book or enjoying a cocktail (one neighbor calls her sunroom Bar Hemingway). The Levins visited several of them at different times of the day to see how the light changed.

Team Screened Porch, on the other hand, talked up the breezes, the extra-high ceiling, and the feeling of being outdoors while protected from rain or bugs. 

Should they finish the bonus room over the garage? Some neighbors turned that space into a roomy guest room with an ensuite bath, while others furnished it as a second family room. The Levins looked at them all as they weighed their options.

They also thought about fireplaces – should they go traditional, or more modern? Their neighbors had both. They considered whether to add more windows to the upstairs bedrooms. They admired one neighbor’s built-in bookshelves and cabinets – should they add them to their own great room? 

Being able to see these spaces and features in a real home gave them much more confidence as they headed into their design meeting – when new homeowners lock in their cabinet styles, carpeting, house color, and more – in the fall.

Finally, they got the word: Schell would break ground on their new Jasmine the second week in February. The Levins watched as the excavators scooped out the dirt to form the crawlspace.

The very next day, the Levins’ friendly (and very opinionated) new neighbors – now friends – joined them for sparkling wine on the building site as everyone admired the neat hole in the ground, which in a few short months would become a stone-fronted home with an extra-long garage, great room built-ins around a modern rectangular fireplace, and a window-filled sunroom.

The Levins moved into their new home in early July. And their friends are looking forward to a July 30 dinner party in their new digs, when they will take a tour of all the rooms before settling around the dining room table to toast again.

Privacy & Peacefulness In A Small Setting

By Adelina Riddick, in All Communities

When I moved west of Route One, my family (maybe myself included) was worried. True, we were moving into a beautiful new home, but we were moving farther away from our beloved Rehoboth Beach and our favorite haunts! I assured my three girls it would be fine, but I wasn’t sure myself. 

We would zip downtown Rehoboth for dinner, walks, and shopping with ease. Now we were fifteen minutes away. That might seem like nothing to many of you, but we had ten years of history being just a short bike ride to the beach.  

I smiled and promised it would be fun! And guess what? It didn’t take long for us to adapt and find new favorite spots that were less crowded and easy to access. The best part was that we still went to Rehoboth and now even Lewes very quickly whenever we felt like something different. 

Our new spots (all at the same place:) 

J.D. Shuckers 

I love a good happy hour so finding a spot close to home was imperative! JD Shuckers fit the bill for a fantastic happy hour. On any given night, Teresa, Joey, Jamie, James, or Tommy will serve up the best drinks and a little bit of great conversation. But what I wasn’t expecting was their great food! We have fun family dinners there frequently where there is something for everyone. Most nights, “Sweeney” is producing items from their well-stocked raw bar; their fish tacos are probably my favorite in the area, and my family loves Monday night burger night!  

Green Man Café 

We spent lots of breakfasts here when we lived in Rehoboth, so when they opened right around the corner, the whole family was thrilled! From their healthy smoothies to some of our favorite lunch specials, Green Man is a healthy alternative that provides some delicious menu items. My favorites are Chopped Chickpea Salad and the Green Goddess sandwich!

Amore Pizza 

This family favorite has everything from white pizzas to classic Neapolitan pizzas to a delicious eggplant parmesan sandwich! Friday nights aren’t complete without a great dinner from Amore! Eat-in, take out, and even get delivery (west of Route One of course). 

General Store 

If you need any quick grocery supplies, stop at the General Store for last-minute items or get a prepared sandwich to go! Their subs and seafood sandwiches are unexpectedly delicious. A local secret: the back refrigerator case contains homemade sauce and fresh-made local pasta, including our favorite stuffed shells! This serves as a great last-minute homemade dinner sure to wow family and guests. 

Dollar General 

I would always advocate for the interesting local spots first! But with three teenage girls in the house, sometimes we need nail polish remover, shampoo, or other essential items! The Dollar General is a quick stop that provides grocery and beauty items in a bind. 

The thing I learned about living west of Route One is it is pretty great! There are so many things right at your fingertips, including easy shopping, restaurants, and activities like kayaking on Love Creek and hiking on the trail accessed at Dairy Farm Road. 

Schell Brother’s newest community has the best of both worlds. Tucked off Angola Road, Hailey’s Glen offers you all the privacy and peacefulness you need, this single-family home community is just ten minutes’ drive to the beautiful coastal Delaware beaches but also very close to all the favorite hidden treasures in Lewes.

We still go to Rehoboth all the time. Honestly, the drive is short and does not bother us at all, but we are away from the hustle and bustle and summer traffic!  We love living here. 

Alyssa Titus, Marketing Director at Schell Brothers.

It’s All About The Light

By Adelina Riddick, in All Communities

There’s a new Schell home model available at Peninsula Lakes, the Millsboro, Del. community that’s home to 11 ponds and is just a stone’s throw from the Indian River Bay.

The Bristol model is part of Schell’s villa home series: a twin home that offers the value of attached construction yet lives like a single-family home.

Dave and Peggy Hagerty own a Bristol in the Schell community of Jefferson Creek. And after having spent a year there, the Hagerty’s are sold on the advantages of twin home construction.

“It’s similar to being the end unit of a townhouse,” with the added available light and outdoor space, “but the amenities are like a single-family home,” says Dave Hagerty.

The Hagerty’s are part-time residents – their year-round home is in Delaware County, Pennsylvania – so buying a home with less upkeep was important to them. A big plus: “We don’t have to take care of the grass,” Dave says.

Ask Dave’s neighbor Bob Maurer what he likes the most about his home, and he answers right away. “It’s the light,” he says. “The light, the windows, the vaulted ceilings. It beams with light and we couldn’t be happier with it.”

It was their Jefferson Creek sales representative, Natalie Hay, who encouraged Bob and his wife Mary to look at a twin home. “We quickly realized that it had the same square footage as many of the single-family models, and it lived like a single-family model,” with features like a first-floor owner’s suite and a spacious kitchen. The wide, welcoming front porch is “another thing that checked the box” of features they were looking for. “We feel like we got a lot of value for the money.”

The Maurer’s visit their Bristol at least twice a month from their main residence in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., and more during the summer, although they have also come to appreciate the joys of spending time in the off-season. “The back of the house faces the west, so we get beautiful sunsets every night. We put on the fireplace in the great room and it’s a completely different kind of beach life,” Bob says.

“It’s lovely. I think it’s a much more peaceful way of life than the craziness of Northern Virginia. Delaware offers so much – not just the coastal amenities, but also the wonderful farms and country spaces right outside your door.”

The Mauer’s enjoy dinners at Our Harvest, Off the Hook, and Zoca. They’ve taken day trips to nearby towns and to Cape May, New Jersey, boarding the ferry in Lewes.

“We love the boardwalk, and taking walks in the neighborhood and along the beach and being on the water. We are creating new memories at the beach, ” Bob says.

Find your new Peninsula Lakes twin home by contacting community sales manager Josh Stone or Mollie Petrone or sign up here for an appointment.

2022 Schell Style Contest

By Adelina Riddick, in All Communities

Enter your home for a chance to win $500!

Do you love your home? Are you really proud of it and want to show it off to the world? We have just the thing for you! Schell Brothers is proud to announce the Schell Style Contest for all Schell Brothers homeowners.

Here’s how it works:

You will have 2 weeks to submit 5 to 6 photos of your fabulous Schell Brothers home (please submit using the link below ONLY). Submitted photos must include the exterior, kitchen, and great room, but including a photo of your flex space or basement will earn you bonus points!

Once all submissions are received, our panel of designers will select the top 10 entries. Finalists’ homes will be professionally photographed and announced on the Schell Brothers Facebook page on April 29th.

All submissions will be eligible to win one of 2 awards:

Designer’s Choice Award

Our Designer’s Choice Award, decided by our panel of designers, will be given to only one homeowner. The winning home will be featured on the Schell Brothers website, blog, email, and Facebook. And in addition to receiving the admiration of your peers, the winner of the Designer’s Choice will also receive $500 worth of gift cards to local home decor & gift stores!

People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice Award is given out to the people by the people. Voting will take place on our Facebook page from April 29th until May 5th. Once we’ve tallied all of the votes, the winning home will be featured on the Schell Brothers website, Facebook page, and blog. And after being crowned the people’s champion the winner will receive $200 in gift cards to local home decor & gift stores!

Remember, the submission deadline is March 16th. So, do you think you have Schell Style? Submit your photos using the link below:

https://schellbrothers.formstack.com/forms/schell_style_contest_2022

Good luck!

Now Available-The Best of Delaware Cooking

By Adelina Riddick, in All Communities

There’s a beautiful new source of inspiration for Schell homebuyers once they are unpacked and eager to try out their sparkling new kitchens. In Season: A Coastal  Delaware Cookbook is hot off the press and ready to tuck into Schell’s welcome baskets.

With photos of the southern Delaware coastline, familiar landmarks, and food, glorious food, the new cookbook features customized recipes that make the best of the area’s bounty.

Chef Nate Leonard developed the recipes, dividing them by seasons: In the spring, cooks will turn to the Warm Asparagus Salad after a trip to Fifer’s Farm Market for the slender green sprouts. A summer stop at one of the area’s farmers’ markets will yield the ingredients for the Heirloom Tomato Salad or Baby Back Ribs with Peach Salsa (with peaches from Bennett Orchards). Pumpkin and Brie Stuffed French Toast is perfect for a fall brunch, and the Eastern Shore Eggs Benedict, rich with oysters and shrimp, is a showstopper. A toasty fire and a smoky French Onion Soup make a great winter pairing.

All the recipes are mouthwatering, but not all are complicated. “We were looking for a unique gift for our new homeowners that also showcases Delaware culinary traditions – and offers lots of ideas for adventurous cooks to try,” said Schell marketing director Alyssa Titus, who spearheaded the cookbook’s development.

Schell employees contributed their favorite recipes and offered suggestions for food purveyors and restaurants that locals swear by and that families will enjoy checking out, like Hickman’s Meat Market for hand-cut steaks, Big Fish Market for the freshest filets, or La Fable for that special anniversary dinner.

“We’re blessed with talented chefs here in southern Delaware who take advantage of beautiful, local ingredients from our bays, ocean, and of course our family farms,” Titus said. “We’re excited to let our new homeowners in on the secret, and inspire them to create their own culinary traditions in their new Schell home.”

Here’s a sneak peek at one: The Lemon Olive Oil Cake, where pantry staples combine with juiced lemons and ricotta to create a result that’s sublime.

INGREDIENTS

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 lemons, juiced and zested
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup whole milk
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1-pint ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Olive oil
1 lemon, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Dust with flour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, combine eggs and sugar. Whisk on high for 30 seconds.  Add lemon juice and zest and whisk on high for 30 seconds more.  Lower speed to medium.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil, scraping sides with a rubber spatula.  Add milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk 2 minutes until well combined. 

In a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in 3 stages, turning the mixer on and off to just combine the batter.  Do not overmix. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the ricotta, powdered sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.  

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Spoon ricotta mixture on top of the batter, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake, about 30-35 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let stand for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sliced lemon.

HOW DO YOU GET YOUR COPY?

In Season: A Coastal Delaware Cookbook will be included in all new Schell homeowner gift baskets beginning Feb. 1 and available for $39.99 at The Coffee House Powered by Schell Brothers and Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.

Cute and Cozy: The Shops on Artisan Lane

By Adelina Riddick, in All Communities

Dru Buehler has a cute little shop on Candy Cane Artisan Lane in Schellville, selling cozy gloves, hats, scarves, and fuzzy jackets. Her wares are perfect for the throngs of visitors who come every night to stroll the tree maze, ride the train, sip hot cocoa, enjoy a beer – and maybe forget that the wind in Southern Delaware can kick up a bit on a frosty night.

She describes the shop – it’s called Haven – as the “love child” she and her mom cooked up as a project Dru could work on to get a taste of the retail life – the inventory ordering, the bookkeeping, and all the other tasks necessary to run a successful business. She has her family’s full support, which is a good thing, especially considering that Dru is a senior in high school.

“It’s been really fun,” Dru said one morning this week before her school day began. It’s also been a lot of work: The pop-up shops at Schellville are expected to be stocked and ready when the gates are open to visitors, which now is pretty much every night.  

“I have had lots of surprises,” she said. “I didn’t know how much work you have to do even when it’s not open,” between figuring out the inventory, keeping the tiny shop organized, and doing all the paperwork. “I try to do cheaper prices because people don’t come to Schellville to buy things, but I’ve gotten such warm responses, it’s all worth it. It’s a good place to learn and grow.”

George Todd has a successful business as a portrait artist, but does the occasional craft show to show off some of his other projects and to find commissions for his portraits. He applied to open a shop at Schellville just to find another outlet for his work. “It’s been amazing,” George said. 

His cutting boards and picture frames with blue and foamy resin painted on to look like waves lapping at the sand are being snapped upright and left by Schellville visitors happy to stumble on that last, perfect holiday gift.

He goes straight to his workshop every morning, making and painting more cutting boards to sell when Schellville opens up in the evenings. “I’m pretty busy all day,” George said. But he’s gotten to know the other shop owners in his row, including fellow artists and crafters selling ornaments, candles, pet collars, and other goods. 

Schell looked for an assortment of established vendors and newcomers to fill the 18 Artisan Lane shops as another amenity for the throngs of visitors who come to have some winter fun, Each shop owner and food purveyor must commit to giving 10 percent of their proceeds to the Harry K Foundation, whose mission is to end childhood hunger here in Delaware. “It’s another incentive, and it’s another way to incorporate the community into the marketplace,” said Dru Buehler.

Dru said she’s already learning a lot from the experience and is eager to extend Haven beyond the Schellville shop. She wants to add more locally produced products. Like jewelry and candles, to the mix, and maybe use her artistic skills to paint some of the pieces of clothing she sells.

“I’ve gotten a lot of valuable feedback from the customers,” one of whom advised Dru that adding slits to the back of her winter caps to accommodate ponytails might be an improvement.

But first, there’s that whole “finish high school” and “start college” thing. “It’s been a journey – it’s exciting, but a little scary” to think about the future, she said.

Schellville is open from 5 -9 p.m. every night until the new year. Reserve tickets in advance online.

New Home + Schellville= Happiness

By Adelina Riddick, in All Communities

When you come to Schellville this holiday season, you’ll be greeted by loads of volunteers wearing warm coats, wooly mittens, and great big smiles on their faces. And the widest smiles might be on Mick and Laura Wolfe, who embraced Schell Brothers’ culture of happiness soon after they moved into their new home in the Governor’s community in Lewes.

The New Yorkers arrived in July 2020: the middle of the pandemic, when meeting new people was a challenge. But after a few impromptu happy hours — socially distanced in the middle of their street, of course — and finding fellow trail walkers and bike riders, the Wolfes soon found themselves with a pile of new friends…

By the following summer, Laura had been appointed to the Governors Pool and Clubhouse Committee, Mick had helped form a biking group and together with neighbors started a monthly dinner group: The Wolfes were home.

As they lounged in comfy chairs alongside the community pool one July afternoon, a neighbor told them about Schellville, and Laura and Mick’s ears immediately perked up.

Free admission to the miniature village for kids, skating, and a beer garden? Train rides and snowball fights? “I thought, what a great opportunity to celebrate with my family,” said Laura.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Wolfes had a blast, bringing their children, niece, and nephew, and their two grandchildren to tour the village, visit the food trucks, do a little holiday shopping and enjoy a libation or two while they watched the skaters.

They’re also volunteering a few of their evenings: Mick as the train conductor or engineer and Laura as a Christmas elf, giving directions, squirting the hand sanitizer, and greeting new visitors. And they are loving it.

“I think it’s very impressive that Schell has stepped up like this in the community and how the company gives back,” Mick said. A former commercial construction executive, he’s also impressed with the quality of Schellville’s construction, but he’s not surprised. “We love Lewes, and when we first looked here, we looked for a premier builder in the area, and we were very impressed with Schell’s offerings and their commitment to quality.”

For Laura, volunteering at Schellville is another opportunity to give back. “I wanted to show my appreciation for Schell and for Governors, this great community which has become our new home.”

Besides, added Mick, there are few things as fun as being the train engineer for the evening. “The idea of driving all those little kids around? I mean, that’s exciting — that’s holiday spirit right there.”

Schellville 2021- Bigger and Better

By Adelina Riddick, in At Schell Brothers, We Get It!

Here’s the good news about this year’s Schellville: It’s bigger and better than ever.

Here’s the great news about Schellville: It’s so big that there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities for coastal Delawareans to help out — everything from greeters and skate fitters to Santa’s helpers, train conductors, and of course, village elves.

If you need a bit of a nudge to get into the holiday spirit this year, Schellville will practically knock you over.

  • The biggest roller skating rink in the state, including a pathway — or speedway, depending on who’s skating — that winds through a 45-foot tunnel of lights.
  • A brand-new maze featuring 1,200 trees to get lost in
  • Two trains just waiting for riders to take in the festive sights
  • 14 firepits, 18 artisan craft shops, a giant heated tent (with a bar) overlooking the roller rink and a food truck alley
  • The snow zone, where kids can play in igloos and have “snowball fights” with lightweight balls

Schellville volunteers have the added benefit of watching the crowds have a blast — and knowing they are playing a part in bringing big smiles to a lot of little faces.

The whole extravaganza takes place in a sparkling light-draped, candy-cane-covered, super-decorated playland just behind the Tanger Outlets Seaside mall on Coastal Highway in Rehoboth.

Schellville got its start in 2017, when Director of Marketing Alyssa Titus went to her boss, holiday celebration superfan Chris Schell, with a cute idea. “For Christmas, I wanted us to build a giant interactive gingerbread house,” she told him.

Chris mulled it over for a minute. “How about a whole village of houses?” he said. And that year, the nine mini-homes of Schellville were built along the water at the parking lot for the Lewes-Cape May Ferry. It featured tiny workshops, a place for kids to write letters to Santa, and a miniature Zwaanendael Museum among its attractions.

It didn’t take long for the crowds to swell and the village got bigger — first moving farther north to Hudson Fields, and now this year in a significantly expanded location behind the outlets, which Tanger is letting Schell rent without a charge.

Schell Brothers Homes — whose mission is happiness, after all — sponsors the entire event, which means that kids and their families can enjoy Schellville without paying for anything: There’s no admission charge, though visitors can purchase snacks, gifts, and crafts or drinks and rent roller skates if they don’t bring their own.

Schell employees, contractors, and other friends and family members willing to be roped in have been hard at work on Schellville since the summer, and two weeks before opening were still planting trees, stringing lights, and putting finishing touches on the village, which now numbers 18 buildings, including a miniature airport, movie theater and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus’ own home.

Participating food and craft vendors are pledging 10 percent of their Schellville profits to the Harry K Foundation, which works to end childhood hunger in Delaware.

Also, if you use the hashtag #kudosforchristmas and post a message of gratitude on social media, Schell Brothers will donate $1 for every kudos given to the Harry K Foundation through the Kudos For A Cause campaign. All proceeds will benefit the kids in Delaware. “This is about the children in our area — in Delaware — who don’t have enough to eat. We must work together to care for our children,” said founder Harry Keswani.

“It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” says Alyssa. “And I’ve done a lot of cool things.”

Schellville will open on Nov. 20 with extended hours after Dec. 16. Reserve your tickets and sign up to volunteer at the Schellville website

*Article by Calli Barker Schmidt